Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Messianic Consciousness in Jewish Prophecy (LXXXII) Isaiah

We are going to reflect on Isaiah's chapter 53, which became the foundation for the worst face of anti-Semitism and judeophobia that ever existed in history. Other western religions have used their own interpretations of this chapter to condone, justify and promote the persecution and extermination of the Jewish people. Such interpretations are wrongly based on the complexities of Isaiah's phrasing of his words in this particular chapter. Fortunately, the Prophet already have given us previous clear contextual references that lead us to understand his words according to the traditional Jewish interpretation.

Isaiah presents his words interchanging Israel as a single person and as a people, juxtaposing his own words with God's words, and the interaction of Israel as a people with Israel as an individual. Israel as the ideal primordial Jew in contrast to Israel as the secular people far from emulating the ideal primordial Jew. With this clarifying preamble we begin to reflect on the verses of this chapter.

“Who has given credence to that which we heard? And the arm of the Lord on whom has it been revealed? Yea, he comes up as a tender plant before Him, and as a root out of a dry land. He has no form nor honor when we observe him, nor appearance when we desire him.” (Isaiah 53:1-2)

The Prophet speaks to the nations, questioning their credence to what the people of Israel have heard from the Creator. Have the nations really believed the teachings of the Torah that Israel understood from God? Do they believe in the God of Israel that have revealed His words, and in Israel as the arm to which He gave His revelation? Isaiah compares Israel to a sprout rooted in a dry land.

The metaphor tells us that the shoot represents life in the harshness of a dry land as the dead field from which it is destined to sprout and fructify. Goodness destined to prevail amid the barrenness of evil. The goodness of Love's ways and attributes over the futility of ego's fantasies and illusions. There is nothing that can shape the Jewish identity except the Torah.

Israel doesn't need to have a particular form of reference outside of the Torah, or a special honor in his appearance to be perceived by the nations. The external appearance of the Jewish people is the same as the rest of humans. Israel does not boast for having exterior form, sign or honor.

“He is despised, and left of men. A man of pains, and acquainted with sickness. And as one hiding the face from us, he is despised and we esteemed him not. Surely our sicknesses he has borne, and our pains he has carried them. And we, we have esteemed him plagued, smitten of God and afflicted.” (53:3-4)

Israel became the despised and outcast by the mission God gave them as His chosen people to build a place for Him to dwell in the world. This treatment by the nations have caused Israel pain and suffering throughout history. There has not been sincere appreciation or esteem for the people that have shared their Godly instruction with humankind. The Prophet joins the nations to call the ideal preeminence of Israel disesteemed and plagued, as if smitten and afflicted by God Himself.

“And he is pierced for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement of our peace is on him, and by his bruise there is healing to us.” (53:5)

Israel as the ideal primordial human consciousness to manifest God's will in the material world is indeed oppressed and harmed by our own transgressions, including Jews and non-Jews. Our highest level in consciousness is harmed by our iniquities and negative trends, for these oppose the goodness our highest awareness yearns for to fulfill God's will. We must reiterate that all we do against our goodness affects our peace. There is no peace while we let iniquities running our consciousness.

Let's be aware that peace also means wholesomeness, completion, and totality. A fractured consciousness is the result of our inability to harmonically integrating all its aspects, dimensions and expressions as a functional unity whose purpose is to make goodness prevail in the material world. Our punishment for transgressing against goodness is on our peace. In this context Israel represents the encompassing harmonic unity destined to serve God's plan for this world.

The oppression of Israel by the nations is also a lesson for them to learn about the effects of harming goodness. This intricate allegory must be understood not as implying that harming one person heals the offender, but a positive lesson to learn after we realize the harm caused to those who have not harmed others. This is not about atoning for someone by harming oneself. Harming Israel does not provide atonement for the nations, but the opposite, as it is written: “I'll bless those who bless you, and I'll curse the one who curses you, and through you all the people of the earth will be blessed.” (Genesis 12:3).

“All of us like sheep have wandered, each to his own way we have turned. And the Lord has caused to meet on him the punishment of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6)

Again the Prophet underlines Israel's responsibility as the Light to the nations: “And I give you [Israel] for a Covenant of a people, and a light to the nations.” (42:6), “And I have given you for a light to the nations, to be My redemption unto the end of the earth.” (49:6). Isaiah includes himself among the Jews and non-Jews who have strayed from God's ways, and follow the negative ways of ego's fantasies and illusions.

As we already mentioned, our iniquities are carried by our goodness. Our higher consciousness bears the weight of all our deeds. The iniquities and transgressions we allow in the world come back to confront our goodness. In a deeper level, we are responsible of every belief, idea, thought, feeling, emotion, passion and instinct in our consciousness. Hence ultimately our goodness is responsible for what we do.

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From the Book's Foreword

Let's reexamine our ancestral memory, intellect, feelings, emotions and passions. Let's wake them up to our true Essence. Let us engage in the delightful awareness of Love as the Essence of G-d. The way this book is written is to reaffirm and reiterate its purpose, so it presents its message and content in a recurrent way. This is exactly its purpose, to restate the same Truth originally proclaimed by our Holy Scriptures, Prophets and Sages. Our purpose is to firmly enthrone G-d's Love in all dimensions of our consciousness, and by doing it we will fulfill His Promise that He may dwell with us on Earth forever. Let's discover together the hidden message of our ancient Scriptures and Sages. In that journey, let's realize Love as our Divine Essence, what we call in this book the revealed Light of Redemption in the Messianic era.